The Puppy

January 8, 2008
By Carolyn Peterson, Orem, UT

I walked down the street, the puppy by my side. He was small with flapping ears and soulful brown eyes. He was energetic too, and bounded around the trees, the sun flashing off the big brown spot on his back. But I didn’t join in the play. I had to find a way to win a debate.

As we reached the front steps I kept going over the things Alice Stanton had said. Things like: be confident, and offer to do a lot of chores. I felt myself become a little braver. After all, it was just my mom. What’s the worst she could do?

I entered the house and the dog bounced happily into the kitchen. Mom was not pleased to say the least. Her lips set to a firm line and her eyes bulged.

“Sarah Elisabeth Benson,” she hissed, “what is that?”

All the bravado left me. I was a mouse stuck in a snakes glare, unable to bring out a coherent thought. I had never been very good at this debating thing anyway. My mothers eyes bored into me as I attempted to access my scrambled thoughts.

“Well...well...the...the Pattersons were giving them away free, and I thought...”

I trailed off. If Alice had so many good ideas then maybe I should send her into the house first next time.

Mom took a deep breath and I prepared myself for the explosion. You know the, you aren’t responsible enough for a dog, and the, I’m going to tell your father about this! But it didn’t come. For at that moment the smell of sweat hit me and my brother, Terence, came clomping into the room.

He doesn’t walk, he stomps. It’s often made me wonder how the floor can take the strain, because I’ve been on the receiving end of a kick before and he has a strong leg. I think he weight trains behind Moms back, but I don’t know how he’s going to keep it a secret when the muscles start showing. He’s annoying, rude, untidy, and smelly, but I guess all older brothers are like that. Their annoying little lives focused on eating (a lot) and bullying little sisters.

Well, he came in and saw the situation immediately. I don’t know how you couldn’t see what was going on with me cowering under Moms icy glare and the puppy going to the bathroom under the table. I guess the Pattersons were lying when they said that all the puppies were house-trained. Or maybe he just couldn’t resist peeing on linoleum. Either way, it didn’t matter because our kitchen is an awful yellow color that looks like pee anyway and I could tell from the look in Moms eye that I would be lucky to be alive after this let alone able to keep the dog.

After a moment of thought Terence reached into his backpack and pulled out a crumpled and stained ribbon. Tying this onto the puppy (after he was done under the table of course) he held it out to me saying,

“For the record, I did remember. Happy Birthday Sarah!”

And then he stomped out, but not before shooting a grin at our fuming mother. I’ll have to give him my King-sized Snickers bar before he can blackmail me into letting him name my puppy. Maybe he’s not so bad after all.

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